Listening to one podcast or another, the person being interviewed stated that the opposite of anxiety and depression wasn’t connection, it was purpose.
First reaction? I puked in my mouth a little bit. I’ll admit, that the bile did rise a little bit. I had forgotten that I take such foolishness very seriously. The opposite of anxiety and depression is not connection or purpose. The opposite of anxiety and depression is play.
In my office, every day, I’m searching for the way to find play. Sure, there’s loads of shit to sort through. There are piles of garbage on the way. And? At it’s core, the work is to help people remember how to play.
Play is the willingness to be curious of, generous towards, and engaged with the field of experience around us. Anytime that we resist within play, those times that we hold back? In Gestalt terms, they might call it functional retroflection. This foolish term simply means knowing when to keep your mouth shut.
In the land of the fool? It’s called playing in major and in minor. If this were jazz, we’d know when it was our turn to let our voice shine. Playing in clown? We learn how to find moments of playing differently. Even when we’re playing with our mouths shut? We fools always have some game afoot.
But there’s a difference between holding back while still in the game and retiring from action all together. When we withdraw, those are the forces of depression. Our self removal as a reaction to our fear of what could happen? It keeps us safe. Free from pain, criticism, feeling. This safety keeps us numb and alone.
Let’s change the script. The opposite of depression isn't connection. That's a byproduct. And the opposite of depression, isn't happiness. That's a byproduct. And the opposite of depression, isn't purpose. That's a byproduct. The opposite of depression is play. It's engagement. Once we start to play we have more moments of happiness. Once we start to play, we can finally get lost enough to find our purpose.
Through play, we develop the ability to surf the mounting waves of nervous system excitement and activation. We learn to adaptively attune to the changing circumstances that unfold before us within the field of existence., The field of existence? Life - as you experience it. This place that we're kind of moving through right now…
How did we get her?
One Derful Thing
Play requires permission. An agreement between the players. An accomplice. Someone with whom to be as thick as thieves with. A playmate.
How do you find this person?
They are whom ever you are with. This partner? They are the best partner.
Why? Because they are with you and ready to play.
Congratulations. You’ve found them.
Perhaps it is time to go looking.
Here is one way to try to find them.
When you are interacting with another human being try saying this:
If they reply with “Who’s there” you’re well on your way. Now? you see if they are ready to play ‘break the joke’. Reply to their question randomly. ie: Desk lamp. This prompts their reply of ‘Desk lamp who?’ with something utterly absurd: Desk lamp who farts with a magnificent luminescence.
Then? If they’re game? Start it again:
Repeat until they join or decide to lick 9 volt batteries instead.